scorecardIndia is facing the worst shortage of nurses in recent years, says KPMG report
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India is facing the worst shortage of nurses in recent years, says KPMG report

India is facing the worst shortage of nurses in recent years, says KPMG report
IndiaIndia3 min read
  • Nursing as a profession is becoming less desirable in India with increased migration of nursing professionals to foreign countries
  • India has an annual capacity of more than 3 lakh nursing seats. In the last 12 years, there has been an about 9X rise in institutions offering diploma nursing courses.
  • India has a shortfall of at least 8 times the current availability of allied healthcare professionals, says the FICCI and KPMG report.
Nurses make up the majority in the healthcare industry and are essential to providing quality treatment to the patients. However, India has been facing a massive crunch in the number of nurses in the healthcare sector over the past few years, says a report by FICCI and KPMG.

The report estimates that the country’s current capacity of allied healthcare professionals – at 57.5-58 lakh – will have to go by 8 times if the shortfall has to be filled. Adjusted for a workforce with proper qualifications, this shortfall would widen to 13 times the current availability of 60 lakh professionals.

The Strengthening Healthcare Workforce in India:The 2047 Agenda report further highlights that nursing as a profession is becoming less desirable in India with increased migration of nursing professionals to foreign countries.

“Nurses have not been given enough attention in terms of recognition, perks, pay, and other privileges. Hence, most nurses are seeking jobs in other countries, and many only join the profession for the lucrative opportunities abroad,” said Usha Banerjee, group director – nursing, Apollo Hospitals.

“Moreover, a lot of nurses that graduate, though available in number, are not job ready,” Banerjee adds.

India’s healthcare sector is in need of qualified nurses who are not only technically sound but also have specialised skills in various fields and are up to date on the most recent medical technology.

According to the FICCI-KPMG report, India has an annual capacity of more than 3 lakh nursing seats. In the last 12 years, there has been an approximate 9 times increase in institutions offering diploma nursing courses.

As of 2021, there were around 2,828 courses related to nursing available in different colleges in India. And, 87% of these courses were in government institutes, while the rest were in private colleges.

Overall there are 1,200 institutions in India providing various levels of education in health, including certificate courses, diplomas, undergraduate and post-graduate courses with the duration ranging from 1 year for some diploma courses to 5 years for a regular undergraduate course.

Under the Central Sector Scheme – Development of Nursing Services, financial assistance of ₹7 crore will be provided to each nursing school and college.

“These institutions are likely to produce about 22,500 doctors and 2,000 nurses every year and help bridge the gap. However, more than 30% of the doctors and 50% of the nurses with adequate qualifications are not part of the current health workforce either because they are unemployed, or they do not wish to join the labour force,” said Gautam Khanna, Chair at FICCI Health Services Committee and CEO at PD Hinduja Hospital and MRC.
Kerala has the highest number of nurses and midwives
The southern state of Kerala — with 96 nurses and midwives per 10,000 population — tops the list of most nurses in the country. It is followed by Andhra Pradesh (74.5 per 10,000) and Mizoram (56.5 per 10,000).

Goa has the least number of nurses and midwives at 0.5 per 10,000 population while the second and third worst ratios are in Uttar Pradesh (0.8 nurses and midwives per 10,000) and Bihar (1.9 per 10,000) respectively.

“There is a need for a marketing strategy and building pride in the nursing profession as it gives an opportunity to women to have a respectful job,” Banerjee said.

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